To date there have been some pretty raunchy and ill-advised jokes, shows, and movies made that people have laughed at despite the horrendous subject matter they show and the often vulgar and depressing subjects they cover. The video above is from a personal favorite, Married…With Children, that was seen as one such show and was nearly removed from TV it was deemed so bad.
In truth the show is about a white trash family from Chicago that are horrible to each other and are all-around mean and nasty people that lie, cheat, and scheme their way through life. But despite this the show is insanely funny for many reasons, not the least of which is how the subject matter, that being the family and their many antics, are used. Some people look at this type of humor as low-brow and state that it can stunt the development of those that watch it and might even be one of the shows responsible for the dumbing down of America.
On the other hand, it was a good bit of entertainment that was to be taken in a cartoonish sort of manner that didn’t have much, if any, bearing on real life. Plus there was an underlying theme that didn’t get seen too often but was still there. The Bundy’s stuck together no matter what.
That alone is one reason why despite all the misery they put each other through they were still one of the most successful shows on the air for quite some time.
Modern-day TV shows aren’t much better when it comes to subject matter.
Look at shows like Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, and many more. A lot of the slapstick and cartoon-quality has gone out of the modern-day shows but it’s still acceptable for certain attitudes and behaviors to exist since it makes for more realistic comedy and drama that audiences love. The reason we laugh at this is due to timing, how the subject is approached, and the fact that it’s easy to relate in many ways to such individuals. The older shows were much the same but some of them chose to display a rather unrealistic lean that allowed people to laugh much as they would at a cartoon.
There are moments that we feel guilty about laughing, but we do it anyway.
There are some subjects that just don’t seem funny and don’t warrant laughter but then there are times when they’re presented in a way that pokes fun at them or at those that commit such acts and some people can’t help but laugh. They feel guilty, they feel horrid for laughing, but the moment still strikes them as funny. In some way the situation becomes humorous to them largely because of how they take it and how it was presented. It’s not right but it’s not always wrong either since the level of humor that each person enjoys becomes how they choose to deal with the moment.
Laughter robs the reality of the subject of its severity.
If not for laughter there are a lot of moments in life that might overwhelm us as we might not know how to react or what to do. These moments could easily swamp us with emotions that are increasingly negative and could cause serious harm if they aren’t checked. Humor does need to be monitored at times by those telling the jokes and audiences need to be read correctly so that said humor doesn’t fall on the wrong ears, but in all honesty sometimes humor is used to rob reality of its severity for the sole purpose of getting people to laugh at the situation rather than be negatively affected by it.
It’s not a sign of lower intelligence to laugh at atrocities when they’re presented in humorous fashion, but it is instead a chance to weather the world as we would have it, not as it is.